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  • Writer's pictureBen Pechey

It’s not a perfect world 

One thing that is a constant during pride, is how unjust things are, how far we still have to go, and the flaws in our system. I agree with all of this - it is exactly as I have written. 

It isn’t a perfect world. However, I do think in order to create sustainable change, we have to acknowledge the growth we have already experienced. 

I say this because without reminding ourselves of the growth we have experienced it can feel very demoralising to fight for change. It takes an awful lot of effort to constantly show up and try to grow change in the face of adversity. 

To know you are building change into a world that has already done some changes does help. Section 28 comes to mind. Section 28, brought in by a struggling Thatcher government, created 15 years of hostility against the LGBTQIA+ community, and failed generations of queer people. 

The legislation aimed to ban what they called the 'promotion' of homosexuality in schools as well as pretended family relationships. This stopped all teachers, schools, and councils from educating, helping and supporting LGBTQIA+ children and families. This is in living memory - and many people my age will have been directly affected by this terrible legislation. 

Repealing the legislation began in 2000, but was overturned, with future PM Theresa May saying that this was a "victory for common sense”. It was repealed in Scotland the same year, but it took until 2003 for England and wales to join this repeal. We can thank grassroots organisations like Stonewall for the role they played in this. 

We cannot undo the harm this caused, but we can take solace that we have it as a lesson to try and halt any such legislation rearing its ugly head in the future. 

We have seen trans people and schools in the news recently with education secretary Nadhim Zahawi suggesting teachers should inform parents if a child confides their trans identity with them. This kind of conversation has whiffs of Section 28, and I hope this will be halted before any damage is done.

There is no perfect, in trying to safeguard trans children - which currently fall outside of legislation that safeguards binary gender children and not trans and non-binary children - mistakes are going to be made. However, we can’t allow things to go backwards. 

Using the repeal of section 28 creates energy that we can use to ensure we can fight for the needs of LGBTQIA+ people right now. A perfect world would be brilliant - but it is unattainable - and we have to swallow that, and do what we can with the world we have right now. 

So if you ever feel that we are fighting a losing battle - remind yourself of some of the victories - and keep fighting for what is right. 

Shot by Rachel Pechey  


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